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Building and ductwork airtightness requirements in Europe – Comparison of 10 European countries

Valérie Leprince, François Rémi Carrié, Maria Kapsalaki, 2017
airtightness measurement | regulation | European comparison | competent tester schemes
Bibliographic info: 38th AIVC Conference "Ventilating healthy low-energy buildings", Nottingham, UK, 13-14 September 2017
Languages: English Pages (count): 10

Mandatory building airtightness testing has come gradually into force in the UK, France, Ireland and Denmark. It is considered in many other European countries because of the increasing weight of the energy impact of building leakage on the overall energy performance of low-energy buildings.

This study analyses recent developments in 10 Europeans countries on the following aspects:

- requirements regarding building airtightness in EP- regulation

- requirements in specific energy programmes

- airtightness testers schemes

- field airtightness measurement databases

- increasing awareness regarding building airtightness, main motivations and progress needed.

The same type of analyses has been done with ductwork airtightness. Information has been collected through a questionnaire sent to TAAC (TightVent Airtightness Associations Committee) members.

Regarding building airtightness, we found that 7 out of the 10 countries have minimum requirements that have to be justified by testing or another mean, either in the context of the EP-regulation (for 3 of them) or in specific energy performance programmes. Minimum requirements mostly apply to new buildings, only three countries have a regulation or programme dealing with the airtightness of refurbished buildings. 7 countries out of 10 now have a quality framework for building airtightness testers; the number of qualified testers in Europe has almost doubled in 4 years. Field measurement data are available in 6 countries out of 10. Most of the time, databases are managed by testers’ qualification bodies and contain mainly data of new residential buildings. All respondents acknowledge that awareness regarding, building airtightness has grown in their country in the last 5 years. The main motivation remains energy use, however, work on this topic is still needed to better quantify the impact of airtightness on energy use.

Conversely, ductwork airtightness does not seem to be taken into account (neither in regulation nor in energy performance programmes) in most European countries. In our survey, only France and Belgium take into account ductwork airtightness in their energy performance calculation. Progress is needed to better understand the impact of ductwork airtightness on energy use (fan, cooling and heating) and indoor air quality.


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